John M. Burke, 89, a former Devils Lake businessman, passed away on Wednesday morning, November 14, 2012, at Mercy Hospital, Devils Lake.
Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Friday, November 16 at 2 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Devils Lake, with Fr. Prasad Marneni will celebrate the Mass and burial will be in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake on Thursday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. with a Rosary and scripture service at 7 p.m. The Rosary will be led by the Knights of Columbus and an Honor Guard by the 4th Degree Knights. Military Honors by the North Dakota Military Funeral Honors Team. Visitation on Friday will be at the church one hour prior to the funeral Mass.
Serving as casket bearers will be Ryan Burke, Chris Burke, Matt Strand, Brent Wolf, Mike Egan, Mark Phillips and Ron Heisler.
John was born on the family farm, April 29, 1923, four miles west of Edmore to Edmund and Nelle (O’Neill) Burke. He attended the Fancher grade school, graduated from Edmore High School, attended the North Dakota Agriculture School in Fargo, Lake Region Junior College in Devils Lake and graduated from the Kansas City School of Mortuary Science.
John farmed the family farm until enlisting in the United States Army in 1946 and served his country stateside and also served one year in Korea. John was honorably discharged as a Corporal on October 22, 1951. John was united in marriage to Lavern Olson of Derrick, N.D., and they established their home in Maddock and later Devils Lake.
John returned to North Dakota and was employed at the Toomey-Sorvick Chapel for five years before purchasing the funeral home in Maddock, N.D., in 1956. In 1957 he purchased the furniture store in Maddock then in 1961 he purchased the Toomey-Sorvick Funeral Chapel in Devils Lake and was operated as the Burke Funeral Home. On January 1, 1983, the Burke Funeral Home was sold to Kyle Zimmerman. In 1984, after retiring, John and Lavern started a Pet Cemetery, near Lakewood.
In 1964, John purchased Lake Carpet and Linoleum and sold the contents after the death of the manager, Dean Gilliand. Part of the building was operated by Mrs. Burke as a gift shop and then in 1971 the entire building was used for a Gift and Hobby Shop.
John had been active in community affairs. He was past president of the Community College Foundation, Director on the Advisory Board of the State Park and Recreation, a member of the Lake Region Ambulance Board, the VFW, Elks Lodge and Odd Fellows. He was an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and 4th Degree Knights. John was the first appointed Lay Eucharistic Minister for St. Joseph and also served as the first president of St. Mary’s School Board.
Page 2 of 2 - John is survived by his wife, Lavern of Devils Lake; sons, Dr. Larry Burke and his wife, Susan of Williston, N.D., and John Bruce Burke and his wife LouAnn of Grand Forks; six grandchildren, Kara (Brent) Wolf, Tanya (Matt) Strand, Dana Burke (Mark Phillips), Sara (Mike) Egan, Ryan Burke (Kelly Vranska) and Chris (Ashley) Burke and 12 great grandchildren.
John was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Edmund Burke, Tom Burke and Dan Burke.
Friends may sign the online register book and share memories of John at www.gilbertsonfuneralhome.com
Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, is in charge of arrangements.